JUNIOR Gwent rugby players have been keeping fit and helping St David's Hospice Care by fundraising during Covid-19 lockdown.

Whitehead RFC juniors, in Bassaleg, Newport, have completed a variety of challenges over recent weeks ranging from a pass the ball marathon for the youngest to the Whitehead JRFC triathlon.

The WJRFC triathlon involves a 5km run, a 10km bike ride, sit ups and press ups, all adhering to the current isolation advice.

The junior section has set itself a target of raising £5,000 for the hospice through its fundraising activities.

South Wales Argus:

Under-9s coach and under-13s team manager Nick Moore said: "We created a list of challenges for the players depending on their age.

"Some did the pass the ball challenge but most completed the Whiteheads JRFC triathlon.

"We have a great set-up at Whiteheads with more than 200 local children regularly playing rugby who are supported by an amazing group of volunteers with strong links to our community.

"St David's Hospice Care is close to the hearts of many people at the club and we thought we could do something to help.

"It's a particularly challenging time for charities who rely on fund raising and with St David's Hospice Care offering invaluable support to many local families, we wanted to help safe guard this amazing care.

"Hopefully what we have done will encourage other junior clubs to do something similar for such a great cause. It would be great to see other junior sporting clubs do something similar.

"It was really easy to set up and gave the kids something to focus on, and also to burn off some energy!"

South Wales Argus:

Moore continued: "Supporting the hospice really struck a chord with us as one of our players in the Under-13s, Cai Newnes, unfortunately lost his great granddad, Philip Evans, a few years ago due to congestive heart failure.

"Philip spent three long weeks at home in palliative care provided by St David's Hospice Care.

"The hospice at home nurses of St David's Hospice Care were extremely compassionate during this difficult time, offering their upmost care and support, not only to Philip but to all his family. As a family they were all really grateful for everything they did."

Around 50 players from different age groups have signed up for the fundraiser, a number that keeps rising.

"The players and their parents have been amazing. They have really taken on the challenge and shown what a great team they are," said Moore.

"They hope to come up with more fun ideas to raise money for St David's in the future."

The Newport-based hospice, which has to fund 70 per cent of its clinical services through its events, which have been cancelled, and its shops, all closed, is bracing itself for a massive spike in Covid-19 pandemic referrals.

In normal times St David's Hospice Care, which cares for 1,200 patients a day, generates £2.5million a year from events and its shops in excess of £1million.

Hospice chief executive Emma Saysell said: "It's wonderful to know that we are getting such brilliant support from the young rugby players at Whitehead JRFC. We can't thank them, their parents and coaches at the club for all that they are doing for the hospice."

To donate visit www.justgiving.com/team/WhiteheadsJRFC